Summary: A sermon for 9-11.
“Jesus Is All That Matters”
By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN eastridgeumc.org
We read this Psalm on a Sunday evening when most of us probably have that grim anniversary in our minds.
It happened on a Tuesday morning in September when our soil, and our people and our America was violated by terrorists who were bent on killing as many Americans as they could…
…men, women, old, young, rich, poor…
…in one terrible, violent act!!!
And also to destroy our governmental facilities in Washington, D.C., trying there, as well, to kill as many as possible including the President and his family.
It was a shocking crime that we will never forget.
It has caused pain in America ever since.
So as we are here tonight, remembering, praying, seeking God, and worshipping God our nation is different than before that September morning ten years ago.
We are fearful.
A plane ride overseas now requires extraordinary measures of security.
And ridership has suffered; many folks won’t fly ever again.
ID’s are verified and verified again and again.
And the trust we once knew amongst our own people has been deeply affected.
You might say that a lot of American innocence has been mortally wounded.
We fear our world and we know taking care of, or getting rid of terrorists in not an easy job.
Osama bin Laden might be dead, but many who think like him live on.
So shall we give in to fear, and get back to war and revenge, war and revenge, war and revenge?
Shall we become terrorists as well?
It has been said that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but fear.
The writer of Psalm 27 reminded himself that there is no reason to fear because God is here!!!
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”
The writer of 1 John Chapter 4 reiterates this truth when he says, “we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love…
…There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.”
It is so awesome that love is the most powerful force in all the world!!!
Praise God for that!!!
It’s been said that it seems that many of us, in our hearts “want a John Wayne Jesus, an Arnold Schwarzeneggar…
…a ‘Make my day’ Clint Eastwood Jesus.’”
These kinds of figures are all so popular in our Western minds.
But Jesus isn’t a Schawarzenegger, an Eastwood, a John Wayne…
…even though He did know all about the Osama bin Ladens!!!
They were around in His day.
Instead, Jesus taught us to forgive, and to love our enemies, and to pray for those who persecute us.
And Jesus was very serious when He gave us these commands.
Jesus wasn’t being flippant.
Jesus realized more than anyone else that it’s hard to love your enemies.
He realized that it’s difficult to love those who seek to harm us, those persons who say evil things about us.
Jesus knows that it is painfully, pressingly hard.
But Jesus was serious about it, nonetheless.
And Jesus didn’t just give us this command and then head back on up to heaven—leaving us to sort it all out on our own.
We cannot love without the very power of God.
And the only way we can even know what love is…is by coming to a knowledge of the love God has for us through Jesus Christ our Lord!!!
“God is with us; we are not alone!”
Jesus came and died in order that, through Him we might be able to overcome hate with love, evil with good and fear through faith in Him and the power of the Holy Spirit.
For Jesus is the Stronger of the strong and the Mightier than the mighty!!!
You know, hate really does distort the personality of the hater!
We usually just think about what hate does to the person or persons who are being hated.
But hate is even more tragic, even more ruinous and injurious to the person who hates!
If we begin hating somebody we will start to do irrational things.
We can’t see straight when we hate.
We can’t walk straight when we hate.
Our vision gets distorted.
There is nothing more tragic than a person whose heart is filled with hate!!!
It has been said, “For the person who hates, you can stand up and see a person and that person can be beautiful, and you will call them ugly.
For the person who hates, the beautiful becomes ugly and the ugly becomes beautiful.
For the person who hates, the good becomes bad and the bad becomes good.